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we're back now with more of "today" on a wednesday morning, the 1st day of february 2012. expecting rain here, but we are also expecting temperatures in the 60-degree range. that has a lot of people, including me and ann and savannah guthrie askg whatever happened to winter? in fact, large portions of the country now experiencing higher than normal temperatures. last year at this time it was a massive snowstorm moving through parts of the country. we're going to be talking about this unusual winter weather we're having in a couple of minutes. >> a lot of people across the country are talking about it. also coming up, we're going to be talking about at-home tests. there are hundreds of tests that are available now to check everything from your cholesterol to thyroid or pregnancy, whether you are pregnant or not. doctors are now raising questions about the tests. we'll talk about the pros and
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cons of four important tests coming up this morning. >> all right. also ahead, our money 911 segment. we'll have good questions including what to do if you are about to marry someone with very bad credit. and also what's the smart way to spend your tax refund? not the fun way but the smart way. >> two very different things. >> i would rather go with the fun way. >> let's go inside. natalie morales has a check of the headlines. hi, natalie. >> good morning, everyone. we begin with an important recall and warning. perhaps some 1 million women could be at risk of unintended pregnancy. pfizer recalled 1 million birth control packs because of an error that mixed up the active and inactive pills in the 28-day package. the world's biggest drug maker is pulling 14 lots of the low ovrol tablets and packs of the generic version of the pills. those using them should use
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another form of contraception immediately. mitt romney scored his second victory in the republican primaries after the triumph in new hampshire saying it's time for president obama to get out of the way. with romney's latest win comes a security detail from the u.s. secret service. newt gingrich meanwhile came in second place and vowed to return to florida with the gop nomination. in economic news, 2012 is off to a strong start. it was the best january for stocks in this country since 1997. meanwhile facebook is set to file with the s.e.c. today to sell stock on the open market. while trading wouldn't start for another three to four months the initial public offering could value the social network between 75 and 100 billion dollars. the breast cancer awareness group susan g.komen for the cure is cutting ties to planned parenthood. komen will stop providing money for breast cancer examinations
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partly because of a new policy against funding organizations under investigation. a house republican launched an inquiry to see if planned parenthood uses public money to fund abortions. some say komen caved in to political pressure. a phone call to rose kennedy from lyndon johnson has been released. he called to offer condolences as he flew from dallas back to andrews air force base on november 22, 1963. >> i wish to god there was something that i could do and i wanted to tell you that we were grieving with you. >> thank you very much. i know you loved jack and he loved you. >> the nearly 50-year-old exchange was part of a recording recently donated to the national archives discovered among the memorabilia of a senior military
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aide to kennedy. washington is the 7th state to legalize same sex marriage. the bill is expected to be passed today and sent to the house where it has broader support. washington's governor said she'll sign it. if you want a late night host to eat his veggies it could take the commander in chief. michelle obama offered leno a little bit of honey made by bees kept at the white house. it's an offer he can't refuse. >> this is white house honey? >> if you dip it, it helps it go down. >> white house honey? that sounds bad. you know, with a different president that means a different thing. >> leno claims he hasn't eaten a vegetable since 1969. the first lady got him to break his dry spell on the green stuff. a little bit of honey does the trick. it's five minutes past the hour.
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now over to al with a check of the weather in washington, d.c. >> all right, thanks so much, natalie. let's see what we have going on for today. this record warmth is not going to abate any time soon. the cold air in canada not moving much above normal temperatures in the plain. scattered highs in the northeast and midatlantic states. cincinnati, 22 degrees above normal. st. louis, 20 degrees above normal. newark with a high 25 degrees warmer than usual with a high of 62. you can look at raleigh at 69. little rock, 69. 59 in st. louis. the rest of the country today we have showers in the pacific northwest. southern california, we are looking at snowshowers in >> good temperatures should make it into
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the 60's even though we will see some cloud cover and some off and that's your latest weather. savannah? >> okay, al. thanks. this morning on today's money 911 our team of experts helps solve your financial problems. jean chatzky is author of "money 911." david bach is the author of "debt free for life." and sharon epperson, good morning to you all. >> good morning. >> stacy writes my fiance's credit is pretty poor. he's convinced if he can continue to avoid the creditors the debt will eventually fall
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off his credit record. i'm not in agreement. we have joint checking and savings accounts. before we get married i want him to get his own checking account and manage it responsibly. i'm not sure how to discuss this with him. >> there is so much that worries me about this question. i don't know where to start. yes, he's right on a technicality. eventually they will go away. i have visions of this couple at dinner. >> they won't be married long enough. >> i see them at dinner sitti sittinging there and the phone ringing. are you going to marry a guy in the habit of avoiding problems? >> she's smart enough to identify the problem. >> sit down with a financial planner. get these issues out ton table. have a serious discussion and make sure he's ready to take responsibility for his financial life. otherwise you go to buy a house, a car, anything major together, you are going to be miserable. >> untangle the finances before you get married and keep them
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separate while married. >> how did this turn into a therapy segment? stacy, great question. let's go to skype for tracy from washington state. what's your question? >> good morning. my current employer has a 401(k) plan with a dollar for dollar match up to 7.5%. i cannot be vested in the program until i work there three years. i have been there 6 months and i'm not sure i'll be there for the time required. should i save the entire 7.5%? i'm contributing 3 now and invest the money somewhere else? >> good question. >> first of all it's unusually to have a vesting schedule on the 401(k) plan that takes three years. usually it's 20% a year vest. 3% for savings is not enough. if you only put away 3% in the 401(k) plan you will not have enough. you will have less than a quarter million dollars at retirement. you need 7.5%. ideally you should save 10%. i would take the 3% immediately.
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i know it's tough. but you won't notice after a few paychecks. take it to 7.5% and look at the match in the 401(k) plan as icing on the cake. the money you put in is the real cake. that match is simply extra money that can make a huge difference. focus on what you're going to put away. believe me, you will come back to us 10, 15, 20 years from now and you will be happier. in terms of dollar amount. instead of $250,000 you will have upwards of $700,000. >> you can take us out to lunch at that point. >> on the phone lines, linda from dallas is on the line. good morning. what's your question. >> good morning. i'm 58 years old. i'm not working. my husband is still working and is 63. at what age can i take my husband's social security spouse benefits without him taking his? >> this is a complicated issue for many people. let me try to simplify it for you. first you can't take your
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retirement benefit or your spousal benefit until you're 62 years old. that's the first thing. you have four years to wait. the other thing is your husband has to apply for his social security benefits in order for you to get the spousal benefit. he can delay receiving the payment until he's 70. that's a good idea to maximize his benefits. what you need to do when you're 62 and he's 67 he'll be eligible for the full retirement benefit. at that time he can apply for his benefit. you apply for yours. he delays receiving the payment until 70. you will then be able to get your retirement benefit and the spousal benefit at a reduced amount. you're only 62, not 66 which is your full retirement age. that reduced amount will be the highest amount you can get at the age of 62 from social security. they will take both of those. your husband should definitely try to wait until 70 if he can. every year after 66 he gets an 8% increase in the social security benefit. that's a real benefit to your
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overall household income. >> hold on if you can. lauren is on skype with a question from north carolina. what's your question? >> we have just received our tax return for $10,500. we owe $2,200 in student loans. we have two credit card, one for $5, 900 at 12.5% interest and one at 17.9% interest. we only have about $1,000 in our savings account. what's the best way to divide up our tax money? >> good question. a lot of people have it this time of year. >> clearly you are aware the $1,000 in savings isn't enough. pay off both credit cards. don't worry about the student loans. pay them off on the regular schedule. then every single month as you're not paying those credit card bills take the extra money and put it in savings until you have the full six to nine months emergency cushion. you'll be good to go.
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adjust your withholding because you should not get a tax refund this big. >> even though it's enjoyable. >> it's great fun. but it's better to get the money along the way. >> lauren with her cutie with her. jean chats, love the matching outfits, ladies. very good. david, where's yours? and for those of you on the east coast, david will be answering your questions during a live web chat for the next hour or so head to for that. up next, at-home medical tests. are they worth your time and money? later from fun gadgets to a hot air a balloon ride. great gifts for the man in your life. first, these messages. ♪ eggland's best eggs. -the best in nutrition... -just got better. even better nutrition -- high in vitamins d, e and b12. a good source of vitamin b2. plus omega threes. and 25% less saturated fat than ordinary eggs. but there's one important ingredient that hasn't changed. -better taste. -better taste.
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-better taste. -mmmm... [ female announcer ] eggland's best. better taste and now even better nutrition make the better egg. i've discovered gold. [ female announcer ] roc® retinol... the gold standard in anti-aging. clinically proven to give 10 years back to the look of skin. nothing's better than gold. [ female announcer ] roc® retinol correxion deep wrinkle night cream. [ female announcer ] roc® retinol correxion try olive garden's new three course italian dinner for $12.95. start with all the homemade soup or salad and breadsticks you want. next choose from five new entrees like smoked mozzarella chicken. finally a delicious dessert. the new three course italian dinner. from olive garden. [ male announcer ] cleaning cloget drano snake plus.tle. it comes with a tool and our most powerful drano gel. loosen. pour. done. the first time. guaranteed! get drano snake plus and get flowin'. [ female announcer ] s.c. johnson. this is mary... who has a million things to pick up each month
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on top of her prescriptions. so she was thrilled that her walgreens pharmacist recommended a 3-month supply and would always be there to answer questions about her health. now mary gets 3 refills in one and for 3 months, she's done. more or less. ask your pharmacist about a 90 day supply today. walgreens. there's a way to stay well. [ dog ] our pharmacist about a 90 day supply today. i am my coat? solid gold. my insides? pure platinum. [ female announcer ] a healthy outside starts inside. new iams simple & natural has chicken as its number one ingredient and zero fillers. it works inside for health you can see on the outside. [ dog ] i can't be a rockstar on the outside if i'm not one on the inside. [ female announcer ] new iams naturals. you'll like what's in them and love what's not. [ dog ] i am an iams dog. [ girls ] he's so cute! [ dog ] groupies! you noticed! these clothes are too big, so i'm donating them. how'd you do it? eating right, whole grain.
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[ female announcer ] people who choose more whole grain tend to weigh less than those who don't. multigrain cheerios... five whole grains, 110 calories. this morning on today's health, at-home medical tests. the multi billion dollar market is booming offering skreepings for all kinds of medical conditions. they may save time and money but are they worth it? keri peterson is a contributor to women's health magazine and an internist. hundreds of over-the-counter test that is screen for anything and everything. i guess we should start with the pros. what are the advantages? >> sure. first they are private. they are confidential and maybe that will encourage people to take the test. they save you time, money because it prevents you from going to the doctor's office, waiting for an appointment. they're convenient.
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you can do them at home when you want. >> you advise to do your homework when picking the test. >> absolutely. >> what are the pitfalls of doing it at home? >> the results can be affected if you don't do the test as instructed on the box. getting a false positive can be extremely upsetting. also not all conditions can be diagnosed with a home test. you may need your physician to take other factors into consideration. and you miss out on counseling from the doctor educating you about the condition and how to treat it. >> the biggest piece of advice? >> don't randomly pick one off the shelf or off the internet. you want to get one that's fda approved. go to the website and select one from their list. once you get the kit, follow the instructions as directed explicitly. >> to the t. >> if you're not sure ask your doctors. >> first off is the at-home test for your cholesterol. what types of tests are out
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there and when do you take it? >> many tests widely available typically range in price anywhere from $15 to $100. you want to make sure to get a test that has not only the total cholesterol and the breakdown of the hdl, ldl and triglycerides. typically you prick your finger. if the value of your total cholesterol is over 200, call your doctor to discuss it at length. >> you caution it can be complicated to understand the results and also you have to fast before doing a cholesterol reading. >> good points. because you're getting numerous numbers and each one has a different value that it should be, it can be confusing. that's why for this test i always recommend discussing the results with your physician. >> next is urinary tract infections, extremely common, especially among women. if you are feeling these symptoms maybe it's a good idea.
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>> urgency, frequency or burning when you urinate. a foul-smelling urine and it can be discolored or ping-tin pink-tinged. they are typically over-the-counter, inexpensive. they have a little dip stick you put in the stream of urine and it turns colors if it's positive. it's looking for white blood cells, infection and nitrates. these are the products that bacteria make. >> are they accurate? >> they are very accurate. if they are positive, you do need to be treated with an antibiotic. so call your doctor. if it's not treated it can spread to the kidney and cause a very serious infection. >> not to mention discomfort and pain. >> oh, yeah. >> next is chlamydia which is a sexually transmitted disease. there are not a lot of symptoms. why get an at-home test? >> first off it is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases women get. 75% of them have no symptoms.
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your gynecologist will be checking for it when he or she does your annual pap smear. however, in between if you find out that your partner tested positive, this can be a useful test. what's done is either a vaginal swab or a sample. you get your results back in a week. >> very important to check and be treated. >> you must be treated with antibiotics. if not it can cause infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease or ectopic pregnancy. >> this is interesting. an at-home test for hiv. only one is approved by the fda. what's the process? >> there is only one. it's the home access hiv test system. it costs $44. it's also done by collecting a blood sample. it's confidential and anonymous. when you send your sample in it's only identified by a pin
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number. when you call for the result, you type in your pin number and get your results. >> this one is very accurate? >> extremely accurate. >> it is controversial though. >> it is. >> people say this should be tested for it in an office. >> this is a sensitive test. if it comes back positive you need a support system around you. i really recommend that when you have this test, when you're getting the result keep your family or friends nearby just in case it's positive. the service provides counseling on the phone but i don't think it's enough. you need people close to you nearby. >> dr. keri peterson, thank you so much. >> thankthanks, natalie. >> coming up, what happened to winter? are the above average temperatures here to stay? first, these messages. standpoint. progressive saved me money, and i'm saving you money. [ chuckles ] now these guys are protected with progressive. come on around. we'll fill up your tank for you. free gas! 5 more inches.
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now you're lined up for some free gas and savings, eh? [ horn honks ] hey, we're trying to save here. i came in for this. yeah, fill it up, too. thank you. don't thank me. i'm just the messenger. ready or not, here i come! ♪ found ya! you always find me. you always hide here. [ male announcer ] tim and richard smucker have always loved the taste of just-picked fruit. so it's no wonder why today smucker's makes the world's best jam. for five generations, with a name like smucker's, it has to be good. cigarette? you coming? umm, nah you go ahead. i'm good. alright. ♪
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[ male announcer ] every time you say no to a cigarette, you celebrate a little win. nicorette mini helps relieve cravings in minutes. so you can quit one cigarette at a time. nicorette mini helps you go from one little win to another. until you reach your goal. nicorette mini. quit one cigarette at a time. bringing a rich, warm tenderness to your peas. ohhh! it's i can't believe it's not butter! fresh butter taste with less saturated fat than butter go ahead. cheat on butter.
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oh, and brad pitt was here as well talking to ann. nat and i did the only responsible thing which is come down. >> stalk him. >> and look at them. >> ann was trying to conduct a respectable interview and then nat and i snapped a picture and tweeted it out. see? right there. >> i think we got mostly ann. >> al, what do you think? do you like it? >> i don't think anybody could say brad pitt is in that picture with you. >> yes, he was! >> there's al roker. >> where? >> get out our microscope. >> he's there where i'm pointing. don't you see? behind the camera. >> i see ann. i don't see anybody else. >> oh, al. >> think we're scaring away other heart throbs that want to come to our studio? probably. >> i have some pictures. take a look. i have a picture with wrc morning anchors. >> we love them! >> that's nice. we'll be right back a after your local news and weather.
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[ male announcer ] what if we could keep enough plastic waste to fill over 200 garbage trucks out of landfills each year? ♪ 6.5 million pounds of plastic, gone. by using new glad trash bags, designed with reinforcing bands to be stronger with less plastic waste, we can. ♪ it's a small change that can make a big difference. ♪ it's a small change that can make a big difference. wait a second... with olay challenge that. new regenerist wrinkle revolution... relaxes the look of wrinkles instantly, and the look of deep wrinkles in 14 days. ready, set, smooth... regenerist. from olay. it's kind of a big deal. chex has five flavors that are gluten-free. even a cinnamon one the kids love. the word "wow" comes to mind. [ male announcer ] chex cereal. five flavors. good and gluten free.
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>> live, local, latebreaking. this is a wbal-tv 11 news update. >> it is going to be another unseasonably mild day. temperatures will climb into the 60s. a variable clouds, 30% or 40% chance of rain shower. still a chance for showers tomorrow, but cooler. upper 30's on s
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♪ that, of course, is madonna. i'm sure you knew that. the ultimate superstar will be taking over the stadium for the halftime show at the super bowl. we're going to have a preview of her show and get the party started at indianapolis with a live concert by the gym class heroes this friday morning with a special edition of "today" kicking off waend of super bowl coverage. >> we are headed to indianapolis. meantime coming up in this half hour it is february. you know what that means. time to start thinking of valentine's gifts for your sweetie. we have unique ideas. everything from a car racing lesson to shoes and even a fun gadget for the ipad.
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all of the gifts are under $100. >> if you plan to cook for your man, try one of three delicious soups in today's kitchen by danny meyer. they will warm your soul any time of year. >> actually, since you bring it up and speaking of weather what's the deal with the warm temperatures? >> 60 in new york. >> a lot of people are wondering what happened to winter? is this warm weather going to continue? we'll take a look at that. >> i'm complaining because i want snow, al roker. >> you do? i want sun, al roker. >> bring us snow. >> sun. >> we have sun. we have sun. and the snow, you have to head to the rockies. you'll be fine. >> do they have snow there? >> they do. >> it's been rough there, too. >> they have been getting storms across. that made a big difference. in fact, let's show you what's happening as far as your forecast is concerned. we are looking today at a big area of high pressure. so sunshine in denver today. morning showers in the pacific
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northwest. we have wet weather through the mid mississippi river valley. but the storm out west by tomorrow makes its way into the rockies bringing snow. it will be mild through the southwest, partly sunny skies return to the northwest. sunny and cold in new england. we've got showers along the midatlantic coast tomorrow morning. super bowl forecast. indianapolis, partly cloudy and cool on sunday. overnight low, 34. high getting up to 43 degrees. of course inside lucas oil stadium it will be fantastic. >> good morning. we will see a chance for some rain showers as we move into the afternoon. it will not be a steady rain.
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that's your latest weather. nat, sav? >> thank you, al. after your super bowl hopes have been fulfilled or crushed, stay put on the sofa. there is more competition in store as nbc kicks off the second season of "the voice." the new season promises more blind auditions, expanded battlegrounds and an even larger pool of talented artists. there will be new advisers including miranda lambert, kelly clarkson, robin thicke, ne-yo and all four of the celebrity coaches, christina aguilera, celo green and adam levine are returning and we are the first to reveal they will grace the cover of rolling stone on friday. >> that's exciting. >> it is. be sure to catch the second
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season premier of "the voice" after the super bowl this sunday. >> no reason to leave the couch. stay on until monday night. >> exactly. we are all about show tunes. >> exactly. up next, affordable valentine's day gifts for the man who has everything after this. pay the check? no, i wouldn't use that single miles credit card. hey, aren't you... shhh. i'm researching a role. today's special... the capital one venture card. you earn double miles on every purchase. impressive. chalk is a lost medium. if you're not earning double miles... you're settling for half. was that really necessary? [ male announcer ] get the venture card at and earn double miles on every purchase every day. what's in your wallet? cover for me. i have an audition. what's in your wallet? wait a second... with olay challenge that. new regenerist wrinkle revolution... relaxes the look of wrinkles instantly, and the look of deep wrinkles in 14 days. ready, set, smooth... regenerist. from olay.
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all you need is a hand full of quarters to turn boring wednesdays into 50 cent wing wednesdays. every wing, every flavor, every wednesday, only 50 cents each and only at your pizza hut. ♪ when the doctor told me that i could smoke for the first week... i'm ke...yeah, ok... little did i know that one week later i wasn't smoking. [ male announcer ] along with support, chantix is proven to help people quit smoking. it reduces the urge to smoke. some people had changes in behavior, thinking or mood, hostility, agitation, depressed mood and suicidal thoughts or actions while taking or after stopping chantix. if you notice any of these stop taking chantix and call your doctor right away. tell your doctor about any history of depression or other mental health problems, which could get worse while taking chantix. don't take chantix if you've had a serious allergic or skin reaction to it. if you develop these stop taking chantix and see your doctor right away as some can be life-threatening. if you have a history of heart or blood vessel problems, tell your doctor if you have new or worse symptoms. get medical help right away
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if you have symptoms of a heart attack. use caution when driving or operating machinery. common side effects include nausea, trouble sleeping and unusual dreams. it helps to have people around you... they say, you're much bigger than this. and you are. [ male announcer ] ask your doctor if chantix is right for you. you bet. wow. man: do your simple return with the turbo tax federal free edition, and now get our free one-on-one expert tax advice live by phone or chat. get the federal free edition at nyquil (stuffy): just reading whatyour wait! you relieve nasal congestion? tylenol: sure. don't you? tylenol (another bottle): nyquil (stuffy): dude! anncr vo: tylenol cold multi-symptom nighttime relieves nasal congestion... nyquil cold & flu doesn't.
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>> announcer: today celebrates valentine's day is brought to you by silky smooth dove chocolates. share love this valentine's day with dove. ♪
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>> this morning on today celebrates valentine's day, less than two weeks to go to find the perfect present for the man in your life. some men are hard to shop for, so shape magazine is here with some favorite things to spoil him rotten. good morning! >> good morning, natalie. >> we'll put a price cap on. everything here is under $100. >> fabulous finds for your man, all under $100. >> let's start with a gifting experience really. what are we talking about here? >> instead of giving your guy a traditional gift, why not give him an experience he'll remember forever? go to cloud 9 to buy your man a boat tour for $49, beer tasting classes, take him sky diving or take him race car driving for $60. a wide range of different options and they are all under -- >> points all over the country as well. >> 1,700 choices all over the
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country. >> this one is really unique as well. tom shoes. we know what a great job they do with giving back. this is a dpift that keeps on giving. >> these are chic. you know, you want to give your guy shoes for valentine's day, give him kicks for a cause. every time you buy a pair of tom's they donate to somebody in need. we love these because they look hip. they're lightweight and perfect for summer and spring which is just around the corner. >> and a good price as well. $45 to $89. >> exactly. >> what's valentine's day without chocolate? this is a chocolate fondue kit from godiva. >> instead of using a boring box of chocolate, stir things up with fondue. this is a perfect way for you to come back after a romantic dinner. you have dessert and there is nothing more sexy than feeding each other dessert. >> that's dark chocolate, very good. >> dark and milk. >> wonderful. lingerie for your man?
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>> no man likes to shop for underwear. valentine's day is the perfect excuse to buy him something you will both love. these are from paul smith made of cotton. they come in fun patterns and colors and they start at $45. >> al roker wants them. >> i can see him in those. >> he said, don't get undies for your man! wallets next. every man doesn't like to shop for a wallet. you have great choices here. >> here is a gift that's fashionable and functional from jack spade. they are all under $100. you can get them in leather or nylon. what's great is when he uses these he'll think of you. >> when he's pulling out the credit card and thinking about how much he's spending. i love this idea. collar stays. these are ones you can get personalscribed in them. >> we want our men sharp and dapper. these collar stays are from
9:41 am stainless steel so they are great. you can put in messages like, i want to see you tonight or you make me feel so good, i want to hug you. so he'll remember you whether he's traveling on a business trip or just at work. >> hopefully he won't lose these. >> they are high quality. >> next, the perfect shave. guys love to look and smell good. this is a great tip from the art of shaving. >> this is a kit to guarantee your man is smooth and soft so you can kiss him all night on valentine's day. you get a great variety of products. you have preshave cream. shaving cream. >> lemon or lavender. >> and unscented. this is sandalwood. great way to pamper your man. >> my husband has that. i like it. >> over here, for the guy who loves to play at the arcade. this is something that goes back. it's retro.
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it's the icade. >> this is a blast from the past. this is going to turn your man's ipad into a mini arcade. he can play his favorite games like centipede or pac-man. he'll love it just as much as he loves you. >> make sure they have the ipad. thank you so much. great choices here. coming up next, what's up with all the warm winter weather? no complaining, but is it here to stay? we'll have more right after this. this year i have a lot more than one valentine:
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one for making my perfect cup of coffee, one for being the perfect neighbor, and one for no reason at all. your moment. your dove. ♪ make a change with hellmann's. ♪ make parmesan-crusted chicken. ♪ surprisingly crispier... juicier... mmm. yummier. made with real simple ingredients. find this and other recipes at hellmann's. make it real. make it different.
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oooh, what's her secret? [ male announcer ] dawn hand renewal with olay beauty. improves the look and feel of hands in just five uses. [ sponge ] soft, smooth... fabulous! [ male announcer ] dawn does more... [ sponge ] so it's not a chore.
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yeah. it's his thing. i don't even participate. boom! here it comes! bring it back! bring it home! [ male announcer ] when you combine creamy velveeta with zesty rotel tomatoes and green chilies, you get a bowl of queso that makes even this get-together better. [ british accent ] i host a book club. so sexy... vaga had no tolerance for such dastardly deeds. finally... [ male announcer ] when you combine creamy velveeta with zesty rotel tomatoes and green chilies, you get a bowl of queso that makes even this get-together better. much of the country is enjoying unseasonably warm weather and i have a lot of people asking what happened to winter? nbc's chief environmental affairs correspondent anne
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thompson is in central park checking it all out. good morning. >> reporter: today will feel more like may 1st than february 1st. here in new york the thermometer is expected to push 60. this after a january in which the number of record highs outpaced record lows by a ratio of 18 to 1. in upstate new york where lake george is only partly frozen they are trucking in ice to build the winter carnival castle. thin ice in patterson, iowa took the lives of two friends out fishing. >> it appears thick. it does. you look at it and it's just -- you slip in judgment and it catches you. >> reporter: across the country, this is the most unusual winter. 2rks 8 2,890 daily records tied or broken this january. more than four times as many as last january. february will get off to a warm start. chicago and st. louis predicted to be 14 degrees above average today.
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new york city, 20 degrees and minot, north dakota, a dramatic 22 degrees warmer than normal. it is the polar opposite of last february 1st. >> this is a monster of a storm. more than 2,100-mile stretch of more than a foot of snow could fall over the next 48 hours. >> reporter: damage from the groundhog day storm topped $1 billion. the difference between then and now? the location of the jet stream. last year it dipped deep into the u.s., bringing frigid temperatures and snow from canada. this year it's hovering at the canadian border. >> the systems are coming across the country and bringing mild, pacific, sometimes gulf air allowing for incredible record highs. >> reporter: it is confusing crops in california, blooming too soon. >> a normal winter is cold and wet. but not 85 degrees for a week and a half. >> reporter: the sandhill cranes are early birds returning to
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lincoln county, nebraska, a month ahead of schedule. so, yes, even nature is confused. scientists are reluctant to pin any one weather event on climate change, but they say there is no question that our warming world is shifting our odds away from a traditional winter as we have known it. i'm anne thompson in central park. back to you. >> anne thompson, thank you. up next, it may not be that cold today but we'll pretend it is. we have three soups delicious for any time of year. first, this is "today" on nbc.
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>> announcer: today's kitchen is brought to you by ro-tel and velveeta, together their queso dip makes any get-together better. >> this morning in today's kitchen, what's on the menu? hearty winter soups. >> david myers is chef and founder of a restaurant in los
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angeles. david, good morning. >> good morning, guys. i have a french onion soup for you today. how do you feel about it? >> it smells amazing. >> i love it. >> it's not expensive and you can make it any time of year. >> this is one of the first soups i learned to make. it's so easy. it's great any time of day. a little bit of onion i like to cut up and julienne. i have butter and olive oil mixed together. i like a mixture to keep it lighter. you want to cook the onions -- >> really caramelize them. >> these have been cooking one and a half hours. you put it in the oven, 400 degrees and stir it every 15 minutes. you want a beautiful golden color. >> that's just oil and butter? >> and the sugars are coming out of the onions to give it a beautiful caramelization. >> smells amazing! >> i like to add a little bit of water to get up the bits of the
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golden caramelization on the bottom. it gives more depth and color to the soup and adds nice flavor. here's the secret. a little bit of chicken stock and beef stock together. having both really gives it a nice flavor without it being too heavy. >> if you're vegetarian could you do it with vegetarian stock? >> you could do water and focus really on the flavor of the onion. you can enhance it with sherry. i like sherry because it gives it a little bit of an acidic note the dish really needs. beautiful color there. >> how long do you let it simmer? >> for an hour. taste it. if it needs longer, go longer. >> no salt or pepper? >> i add a little bit as i'm cooking it. i also add a little bit of bay leaf, thyme. the key with seasoning for a soup is you season from the very beginning to the end. that way it's really developed. >> you taste as you go. >> that's the beauty of being a cook. here's more of the finished beautiful product here. it's glorious, a little bit
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soft, the onions have been nicely cooked and caramelized. you just go into a bowl, get some of the juice right here. it's all about having the french bread that's been toasted on top. i like to add three slices of gruyere and put it under the broiler for five minutes until it's bubbling. here you go. try this. tell me what you think. >> savannah, eat your heart out. >> i know! >> the smell is beautiful on this. >> i'm stuck with lentils. you have to make them exciting. >> the beauty of soup. this is the year of the on i don't know and they are in all theups. i kick until it's translucent, onions and garlic. >> why black lentils? >> i like the flavor. they look fantastic. beluga lentils are one of my favorites. i coat it with the olive oil which is great. >> healthy, too. >> and filling. it could be a meal on its own.
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i like to take eggplant. so easy to peel. >> you broiled it? >> roasted it with the tomato as well. you can easily peel it and it's just about dicing. you have the dice that's already set up before you do your soup. >> all right. >> we have a little bit of chicken stock. the lentils right here. >> how long does that go? >> about 45 minutes. >> again, you want to taste to make sure the lentils are cooked enough. you don't want them too al dente. you finish up with the eggplant. >> that's the last step? eggplant and tomato? >> last steps after you get the lentils cooked. you fold it in. for a more substantial meal you can add chicken in with it. it's a great stew and even better the next day. finish with basil. >> okay, david. >> what else do we have here? >> this is our finished lentil soup. let me know what you think. >> and my favorite is a little
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potato soup. french. they call it vicchysoise when it's cold. grilled bread and chooifives. >> fantastic. come back any time. >> up next, hoda and kathie lee after your local news.
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NBC February 1, 2012 9:00am-10:00am EST

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